singular or plural for marble(s)

bennyfriendly

Senior Member
korean
I am very confused about the sentences I am going to make up below.

(1) The black, the white and the marble(s) on the desk are mine.

Please note that in my next example, assume that there are several marbles in each color.
(2) A black, a white and a red marble is or are to be removed from the box.


In (1), do I need to pluralize the word "marble"?

In (2), which verb works better "is" or "are"? I think it could be either one. The reason is that "marble" being singular requires "is" to be used. On the other hand, it could be "are" because there are three marbles.

Please give me your feedback. Thank you for your help.
 
  • Dr Shand

    Member
    English - NYC
    Hi,

    #1 should be, "The black and white marbles on the desk are mine," if that's what you want to say.

    For #2, "are" would be the correct verb because as you said, there are three marbles.
     
    Last edited:

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    (1) The black, the white and the marble(s) on the desk are mine.
    The meaning of this sentence is unclear. Do you mean "the black marble, the white marble and the marble(s) on the desk are mine."? If so, you are talking about two marbles that are not on the desk (one black, one white) and one or more marbles on the desk. The sentence should use "marbles" if there is more than one marble on the desk, or "marble" if there is just one marble on the desk.

    It's also possible that "the black" and "the white" are not marbles. They could be other toys, or even kittens. That depends on context (other sentences around this one).

    (2) A black, a white and a red marble is or are to be removed from the box.
    In this sentence "a black" and "a white" are definitely marbles. The sentence talks about three marbles, so "are to be removed" is correct.
     
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